Hypnosis for OCD

How effective is hypnosis for OCD compared to other Obsessive Compulsive Disorder treatments? What results can you expect?

When you feel compelled to do the same thing over and over again – even though you don’t even want to do it – and think the same thoughts again and again – even though you wish you could just switch these thoughts off – then it’s time to do something about your OCD.

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As strange as OCD might seem, it is quite common. It is estimated that around 2% of the population have OCD, many of them without being diagnosed. Many people live with OCD for several years before they seek out any kind of treatment – in the beginning, they often think that it’s just some weird thing that they do, and don’t think of it as a disease or disorder.

Most of the time OCD starts before a person turns 25 years old. There are people who develop OCD symptoms above the age of 35, but that’s just about 15% of all OCD cases.

OCD = Chemical Brain Imbalance?

Many people adhere to the believe that OCD is “just” a chemical imbalance in the brain, and the only thing that is required to fix it is prescription medication. This is of course also the common paradigm favored by the pharma industry which is investing a lot of money into persuading people via different means (from advertisements to sponsored studies).

That’s why you still find many experts proclaiming that SSRIs (Selective Serotonine Re-Uptake Inhibitors) like Paxil or Prozac in combination with ERP (Exposure and Ritual Prevention) is the most effective Obsessive Compulsive Disorder treatment.

However, you might ask yourself: if it really is just a chemical brain imbalance and medication is the answer – why are there so many people that still experience OCD despite taking medications? And if it really is a chemical brain imbalance, why can’t medical doctors detect that imbalance, even with EKGs, EEGs, blood images and hormone level checks?

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There are several other things that people who do not want to use medication utilize to better cope with OCD symptoms. They are by no means a cure or treatment, but they can make things more bearable.

Meditation can help many people with OCD to be more calm and relaxed too. However, many people find meditation very boring and difficult to practice on a regular basis. It requires a lot of willpower and self-discipline, which can be tiring to keep up on a long-term basis. However, it’s a good idea to practice it if you can incorporate it into your everyday life.

Deep breathing and relaxation exercises can also provide some comfort, and you might consider Oriental forms of exercise like Tai Chi or Qi Gong.

There are many other things you can do to cope with OCD. Some people try to distract themselves by playing video games, watching movies, listening to music, reading a book or other forms of distraction. But is that really how you want to deal with your problems? Just distracting yourself from them instead of solving them and getting them out of your life? Sure, it might be more convenient and easy to avoid look at your problems, but ultimately, it is a lot more convenient to live a life free of anxiety.

For some people vigorous exercise also works fine. Running, cycling, swimming can help to calm your nerves.

Hypnosis for OCD

Kathleen A. Moore and Graham D. Burrows discussed the use of hypnosis as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder in their paper “Hypnosis in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder“, which was published in the Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 19.2 (1991).

In the paper they share a case study of a patient named “Judy”, who’s objective is to manage her OCD without requiring clomipramine. Hypnosis did indeed help her taper off clomipramine:

Ultimately, hypnosis for OCD is an excellent choice, because of the nature of OCD. It is widely accepted in the medical community that OCD symptoms worsen when patients are under a lot of emotional stress. On the other hand, symptoms improve a bit during times when patients experience very little stress. There is a direct correlation between emotional well-being, stress levels and OCD, and hypnosis is an excellent way to balance things out.

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6 thoughts on “Hypnosis for OCD”

    • Yes, hypnotherapy can be combined with medication for more effective results in treating certain conditions. However, it is important to note that medication should only be adjusted or discontinued under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Personally, I’ve seen many instances where hypnotherapy has been effective in reducing the need for medication and even allowing individuals to completely get off medication.

    • Thanks for your comment, Abigail. Hypnotizability is not a fixed trait but rather a skill that can be developed with practice. Initially, some people with OCD may find it challenging to enter a hypnotic state due to their recurring intrusive thoughts. However, with training and consistent practice, they can improve their ability to enter hypnotic states. Over time, practicing hypnosis can help in managing the symptoms of OCD, illustrating that with effort and persistence, the benefits of hypnosis can be accessed by individuals despite the initial challenges they may face. I might write an article dedicated to this topic at some point if that would be of interest.


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